Alex Neil holds hands up to Leeds United's class after Deepdale defeat

Preston head coach Alex Neil.Preston head coach Alex Neil.
Preston head coach Alex Neil.
Preston North End manager Alex Neil held his hands up to Leeds United’s class after his 10-man side were beaten 2-0 at Deepdale.

Neil admitted that Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds were “the only team I’ve paid a compliment to this season” at the end of a game which steered United back into the Championship’s top two.

The Scot was effusive in his praise of Bielsa’s players, admitting Preston were in trouble as soon as midfielder Ben Pearson was shown a 50th-minute red card.

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Pearson was dismissed while the match was goalless but Patrick Bamford came up with two goals to force the issue as Leeds followed up a strong first half by taking complete control in the second.

Neil said: “Most teams are easy to stop. They’re not easy to stop. They’re probably the hardest team in the league to find a way to stop them.

“They’re probably the only team I’ve paid a compliment to this season but I think they’re excellent and I enjoy watching them. Whatever you do against them they’ve got an alternative.”

“If there’s a team in the league you don’t want to go against with 10 men it’s these. They use the ball and the pitch very well.”

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Neil, however, insisted Preston had competed with Leeds prior to Pearson’s dismissal, which came after a professional foul on Bamford.

“He (Bielsa) knew he was in a game,” Neil said. “I thought we were great.

“Most teams who play Leeds, I don’t think they go toe-to-toe with them. I’ve watched them about 20 times this tear and they blitz teams normally. We went toe-to-toe and I can’t ask much more of the players.”